Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Manipulated gatekeeper: how viruses find their way into the cell nucleus

03.10.2011
Adenoviruses cause respiratory diseases and are more dangerous for humans than previously assumed. They manipulate gatekeeper molecules and infiltrate the cell nucleus with the aid of the host cell. A team of researchers headed by cell biologists and virologists from the University of Zurich have succeeded in demonstrating this mechanism in detail for the first time.

They have been around since the dawn of time and are a model of evolutionary success: viruses. Viruses are extremely adaptable but they have a problem: They cannot reproduce, so they smuggle their genes into suitable host cells. In the case of some viruses, the viral DNA has to enter the cell nucleus to reproduce. This has been known for almost 50 years. We know, for instance, that the adenovirus disassembles its protein shell in the first step. Just how the DNA is exposed and infiltrates the host cell, however, remained unclear despite decades of research.

A research group headed by Urs Greber, a cell biologist at the University of Zurich, has now managed to clear up these points. As the scientists recently revealed in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, viruses use the cell’s own mechanisms. The adenovirus latches onto a gatekeeper molecule, which sits on the nuclear pore complex in the nucleus envelope and controls the passage in and out of the nucleus. Another protein in the nuclear pore complex binds and activates a motor protein from the kinesin family, which regulates the transport of substances near the nucleus.

Virus DNA uncoated with aid of host cell
«The motor protein is in an active condition, can bind to micro-tubules and migrate along them,» says Professor Greber, explaining his team’s observations. And the docked virus uses precisely this situation for its purposes. The virus binds to the kinesin and uses the energy of the motor to disrupt its own shell, which exposes the virus DNA and prepares it for transport into the nucleus. The action of the activated motor has another effect, too: The nuclear pore ruptures and becomes markedly bigger, which enables the viral DNA to enter the cell nucleus more easily. Surprisingly, the cell repairs the defective nuclear pore so that the virus breach in the nucleus does not leave any visible damage in its wake. The viral DNA is smuggled into the nucleus practically without trace, where it can reproduce easily.

The researchers used adenoviruses for their study. Adenoviruses cause, among other things, respiratory or epidemic ocular disease. Until recently, they were thought to be relatively harmless for healthy humans. However, the results of another research group recently demonstrated that a new kind of adenovirus triggered a dreaded zoonotic disease, meaning it was transmitted from an animal to humans before spreading from one person to another.

Literature:
Sten Strunze, Martin F. Engelke, I-Hsuan Wang, Daniel Puntener, Karin Boucke, Sibylle Schleich, Michael Way, Philipp Schoenenberger, Christoph J. Burckhardt and Urs F. Greber: Kinesin-1-Mediated Capsid Disassembly and Disruption of the Nuclear Pore Complex Promote Virus Infection, in: Cell Host & Microbe 10, 15. September 2011, DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2011.08.010
Contacts:
Prof. Urs Greber
Institute of Molecular Biology
University of Zurich
Phone: +41 44 635 48 41
E-mail: urs.greber@imls.uzh.ch
Beat Müller
Media Relations
University of Zurich
Phone: +41 44 634 44 32
E-mail: beat.mueller@kommunikation.uzh.ch

Nathalie Huber | idw
Further information:
http://www.uzh.ch/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht One step closer to reality
20.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie

nachricht The dark side of cichlid fish: from cannibal to caregiver
20.04.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>